A Taste of Tinsley: Holiday Recipes

With the holiday season kicking off in less than a week, two of our bakers here at Tinsley Creative have decided to share their favorite holiday dishes. Hannah’s Honey Butter Rolls and Victoria’s Browned Butter Dutch Apple Pie are sure to satisfy your tastebuds. Whether you need a new recipe for your own holiday meal or need to bring something to your next potluck, these two dishes will surely be crowd-pleasers. However, we can’t promise you won’t eat them all before anyone else gets a chance.

Honey Butter Rolls

1 cup milk, warmed
1 package yeast
1/4 cup + 1 tsp honey
1 egg and yolk
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1 tsp salt
3 – 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Step 1: Whisk milk, yeast, and 1 tsp honey together in a large bowl and let sit until foamy (5-10 mins).

Step 2: Add remaining honey, eggs, butter and slowly mix in flour until dough is soft and a little sticky.

Step 3: Knead dough for 8-10 mins until soft but holds its shape. Place dough in greased bowl to rise 1-2 hours covered w/ tea towel.

Step 4: Punch dough and separate into 15 balls and place in a greased baking dish (don’t crowd!). Cover with tea towel and rise 1 hour.

Step 5: Bake at 350º for 20-25 minutes, then top w/ honey butter if desired.

Browned Butter Dutch Apple Pie

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
2 tbsp ice water

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
3/4 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup plus 2 tsp arrowroot starch (corn starch can be substituted)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
9 cups peeled and diced green apples
2 tbsp maple syrup

Prep dough by adding flour, salt, and sugar to a food processor and mix. Then add butter in cubes and blend until the mixture looks like coarse meal (about 10 seconds). Then add water and blend until the dough sticks together (add more water if needed). Form the dough into a slightly flattened disk, wrap in plastic wrap a refrigerate for at least an hour (this can be made up to two days in advance).

Add butter to a saucepan over medium/low heat stirring constantly until the butter foams, turns clear and browns. The key here is to keep the heat at a lower setting and be patient as you want your butter to brown, but not burn. The browned butter will have a nutty aroma. Once browned, pour your butter into a bowl, and freeze for 45 minutes or until it has solidified.

Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a bowl. Take your now solidified browned butter and cut it into the mixture (you can use a pastry blender for this step or even a potato masher will work!) until it is completely mixed, and you have large clumps. Cover the mixture and let it chill in the fridge until you are ready to add it to the pie (this can be made 1-2 days in advance).

On a flat, floured surface roll out your dough until it is a 12-13” circle. Transfer it to a 9” pie pan, trimming so that you only have a 1” overhang and crimp the edges. Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.

While you are prepping the filing, place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees.

Whisk together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Melt butter in a large skillet, then add apples and cover over medium heat until the apples are slightly tender (about 5 minutes) add the maple syrup and cook for another minute. Transfer apples to a large bowl, leaving any juices behind. Allow apples to cool for 15 minutes, then sprinkle your sugar mixture over them and gently mix.

Take your pie crust out of the freezer and spoon mixture into the crust and sprinkle evenly with crumble topping.

Place pie on your preheated baking sheet and bake for 60-65 minutes until the crust and crumble are golden brown and the filling is bubbling. After the pie is done baking, cool it for at least three hours before serving (the filling will thicken as it cools).

5 Ways Your Brand Should Act as Your Business Partner

Branding is important. However, did you know that your brand should act as your business partner? Your brand is the foundation that informs the public about who you are and how you want to be perceived. Your team members and associates are the people who execute the brand, but in order for them to do their jobs well, they’ve got to have an appropriate, consistent, brand to align with.

Let’s discuss 5 ways your brand should act as your business partner.

1. Your Brand Should Build Business.

Think of well-known corporations like Starbucks, Tiffany & Co., Lowe’s, etc. Each time you hear the name of businesses like these, you instantly know the values of their business. As well as the level of service and quality of the product you would like to receive. You know what to expect when you are their customer. You don’t have to be a “big name” brand to be able to achieve this, having a consistent brand lets clients know what to envision when they come to you and make them want to come to you.

2. Your Brand Should Assist and Inform Internal/External Decisions.

Your brand sets the voice for your company. Things like the color scheme you choose all the way to setting the tone for how your employees are treated. Having a well-designed brand can help you navigate things internally and externally by giving you, your employees, and your associates a basis to inform and execute decisions around.

3. Your Brand Should Attract People.

When everyone knows your brand- your mission, your values, they know everything that is YOU. When people are scouting for a new career, they are doing their research and looking for companies that align with their values. Having a well-defined brand gives a great sense of who you are, attracting the right candidates.

4. Your Brand Should Inspire People.

Your team members execute your brand, but in order for them to do their job well and be fulfilled while doing it, they need to have a consistent brand to align with. Not only is your brand what defines you externally, but it gives employees something to follow internally as well. Your brand inspires people to align with your values, mission, and vision. This allows your team members to represent you alongside your brand!

5. Your Brand Should Live and Breathe YOU.

Yes, YOU! Your brand is doing more than just showing up and looking good. The brand that you invest in promotes growth from all angles. If done well, it works with AND for you. So, what are you waiting for?

Whether you’re looking to build your brand from the start, rejuvenate your brand, or maybe you’re in need of a complete brand refresh, here at Tinsley, we’re all about working #foryourbrand. Let’s get started!

5 Marketing Myths: Top Misconceptions Explained

Marketing myths graphic

From big brands with a household name to small businesses serving their local communities, marketing is a necessity (more on this later!). There’s a lot of information about marketing out there, and unfortunately, not all of it is accurate. In fact, certain myths about marketing have been perpetuated over the years, and far too many brands have suffered because of these misconceptions.

It can be difficult to determine what will work best for your business in terms of marketing. Make sure to avoid these common misconceptions and you’ll be off to a great start.

1. Myth: If something works for another company, it will work for us.

Repeat after me: not all brands are created equal. If your company’s identity resembles another company, why does it even exist? Even if you sell the same product or offer the same services as another company, odds are there is something (and should be something) about your brand that sets you apart, whether it’s pricing, or quality, or something else. If your company is unique, shouldn’t the way you approach marketing be different too?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s never a bad idea to take a look at what other companies are doing. But instead of reproducing what other brands do, think about how to best tailor your marketing strategies and content to your business, and highlight the qualities that make it unique. 

2. Myth: I need to spend a lot of time keeping up with trends or I’ll get left behind.

I’m not going to tell you that trends aren’t important in marketing, because they absolutely are. Many business owners and leaders feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to keep up with ever-evolving fads. But what if we told you that you don’t have to dedicate oodles of time to stay on top of the latest and greatest trends?

For some brands, timeless, evergreen content will be your bread and butter. It doesn’t hurt to hop on a trend every once in a while, but it’s important to make sure your content doesn’t age the week after you post it, as many trends often do. The key is to find a balance and leave it up to the experts to keep up with the latest crazes for you.

3. Myth: All my content needs to be about my company.

Customers follow you on social media because they want to hear more from your business. But what about customers who don’t follow you, or even know about you yet? The secret is: it’s not about you, it’s about them.

Ask yourself what you can do for your customer. What problem does your product or service solve? What can you share to educate or entertain your target audience? What can you post on social media that your customers will relate to enough that they’ll share it? Answer these questions, find a way to tie your brand in, and you’ll be surprised at how well your customers, and soon-to-be customers, will respond.

4. Myth: My product/service is so good that I don’t need marketing.

I hate to break it to you, but your product or service is not too good for marketing, and I can prove it to you. Some of the best, most popular companies utilize marketing including Disney, Amazon, and Apple. There are rare exceptions to this rule, but unless your brand is a household name, it’s not a good idea to forego marketing.

If you’d rather let your product or service speak for itself, there are ways to accomplish that with certain marketing techniques. When you find a way to market your business that makes sense for your brand identity and goals, you’ll quickly realize that marketing is important and necessary.

5. Myth: If I have social media accounts, I don’t need a website (and vice-versa).

Utilizing social media and a website is not an either-or situation. Both can serve the purpose of educating and entertaining, but how that information is shared should look different on social media versus on your website.

Social media content should be conversational and engaging. Social media is your chance to interact with customers and meet them where they are. If you use each platform based on best practices and create unique, interesting content, you can reap the benefits of what might be a little extra work – but that’s what the experts are for.

Just because you have your social media presence nailed down does not mean it should replace your website. For starters, some of your customers may not be on social media – this could be a serious consideration depending on your target audience. Having a website is also a professional thing to do. Even though I am an avid social media user, I immediately rule out patronizing any company with Facebook as its only landing page. If you don’t have a website, get started right away.

Fact or Fiction?

It can be hard to create a successful marketing strategy, and unfortunately, this list of myths represents just a small fraction of the misinformation that exists on this subject. The key is to remember that everything you do should always come back to the customer – they’re why you’re in business, after all. And if you get stuck, or simply don’t have the time to build the marketing plan of your dreams, we’re here to help!

2020: A Year in Review and A Look Ahead Towards 2021


They say hindsight is 20/20 and we couldn’t agree more with this sentiment as we eagerly wave goodbye to 2020, leaving it in our rearview mirror. 2020 has been one for the books — and we don’t mean that in a good way. 2020 brought a variety of challenges across the globe as many companies went into lockdown starting in March. Since the onset of the pandemic, we saw a dramatic shift in the way many brands operate on a daily basis. I think if you asked anyone at the start of 2020 if it would be the year of innovation, you’d be met with many firmly stated no’s and we wouldn’t have blamed you. Budget cuts and a drastic shift in consumer trends don’t quite put anyone at ease.   However, the need for adaptation and stronger internal communications played a key role in ensuring the continued success of many brands. Here are a few lessons we’ve taken away from the unprecedented (undoubtedly the most used word) year that was 2020.   

Digital Reigns Supreme 

Covid-19 has encouraged many brands to experiment with technology, from recording live broadcasts on social media, shifting communications to platforms like Slack and Zoom, and sending out an increased number of emails to consumers. If a silver lining is to come out of this pandemic, we can credit Covid-19 with helping us quickly pivot by changing our means of digital communications that would otherwise have taken years to implement. 

Brands have quickly shifted their way of thinking by recognizing the importance of stepping up their digital marketing game in order to stay connected to their audience.

According to a CMO survey, 84% of consumers felt an increased openness to digital offerings and other digital experiences skyrocketed virtually overnight.

A brand relies on digital marketing, even when there isn’t a global crisis. Read that again. It relies on digital efforts to work. Brands only stay top of mind if their marketing team puts the message out there, strategically. Marketing teams all over the globe had to seamlessly pivot their digital marketing plans this year by taking a look at refining and stepping up their game with their social media presence, Google Ads, website, and email campaign strategies, paving the way for a more robust comms plan. 

Collaborative Effort Pays Off 

One of our very favorite movements to come out of the pandemic has been watching brands, especially competition, band together to help their communities. The “better together” mindset has been many companies saving grace.

As we all struggle to digest the cards we’ve been dealt this year, many companies found the silver lining in unlikely partnerships. By teaming up, they’re offering convenient solutions to consumers while being presented with the business opportunity to get back on their feet quicker than most. While many collaborations usually take time and the heads of multiple marketing teams, this year has forced business owners to pick up the phone and take charge.

Joining forces, these brands have been able to serve frontline workers and support the needs of their community; a true testament to voicing their solidarity. Much like individuals, brands need support, too. After all, there are humans just like me and you behind the face and voice of every brand. They say pressure makes diamonds, and many brands have sparkled in the darkness of 2020.

In a supply and demand crisis, major corporations like The American Red Cross and Anheuser-Busch joined forces, stepped up, and delivered more than 500,000 bottles of hand sanitizer when they flew off the shelves at a rapid rate. Coining the clever tagline “It’s all in our hands to make a difference”, America’s leading brewer saw a need, knew they had the capability, and inspired distilleries around the globe to do the same. 

Businesses that get creative and think outside of the box will thrive even in an uncertain climate and 2020 has truly shown what can be achieved when brands collaborate.

Empathetic Brand Messaging Captures An Audience 

Hard sells were not on the agenda for 2020. Instead, many brands have taken this as an opportunity to resonate with their audience by getting to know them more genuinely and personally while gaining a sharper sense of what they offer for the community and people they serve. 

As we move into a new normal, brands (even us) had to shift marketing plans, looking towards the future rather than the present time. As many customers can’t afford a product or service at the moment, it’s imperative that companies communicate sincere messaging so that customer retention is at an all-time high. What they need is an emotionally positive experience with a brand, not an elevator pitch. People feel vulnerable, and empathy is paramount.

With the onset of the pandemic, many consumers had increased anxiety around in-store shopping, dining, and other experiences. How brands responded made all the difference. 61% of consumers claim that how a brand responds and reacts during the pandemic will have a large impact on whether they continue buying it when the crisis is over. From banks waiving overdraft fees to grocers setting aside time blocks for the elderly to shop safely, taking the time to send out social media posts and emails explaining the preventative measures your brand is taking to ensure the health and safety, and financial security of your audience is the key to cultivating a lasting relationship. 

2021: What’s Next?

None of us know what lies ahead of us in the coming year, but we’re certain of one thing: the little things can make a big difference. What do we mean by that? It’s simple. Serving over selling has been the defining characteristic of many brand marketing initiatives this year. Showcasing the human element behind a brand establishes a needed sense of transparency for audiences everywhere, especially during times consumers need it the most.   From major corporations to small businesses, no one came out unscathed in 2020. Covid-19 caused a ripple effect that we have all been impacted by in some way, from finances to how we communicate with each other.

We’re Always Here #ForYourBrand

As you sit down to develop your strategy to ultimately reach your marketing goals in 2021, we’re here #foryourbrand, and ready to help in any way that we can. Contact us to schedule a free one-hour brand evaluation where we will discuss your current branding strategy and (if chosen as your brand’s marketing partner) how the #TinsleyTeam can help position your brand’s identity and set you up for a successful, profitable future in the new year.  

From all of us at the #TinsleyTeam, we wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

Hashtags: Is Your Brand Using Them Correctly?


Who would have known the pound sign would turn into a useful marketing strategy to help increase your brand’s awareness! You might recall that it was once only known as the number sign, the framework for a game of tic-tac-toe, and still today, as a prompt in automated phone calls. Which makes it much more fascinating that this symbol has become a social media phenomenon since its humble beginnings on Twitter in 2007.

While millennials might know this symbol best, it’s imperative to know that 40% of social media users are over the age of 65. Older generations might be in the dark about how to use hashtags effectively to their brand’s advantage.

Over the years, we’ve noticed a disconnect between understanding what a hashtag is and using them correctly. Throwing several hashtags under a post with no purpose or strategy won’t elevate your brand’s visibility or engagement. Sure, it looks easy as you scroll through your social feeds, but ask any social media expert and they’ll tell you the hard work that goes into crafting hashtag strategies. Think of hashtags like keywords for Google, as they’re used in a similar fashion helping your target audience discover you. 

What exactly is a hashtag and why should your brand be using them as part of your social strategy? 

The idea itself is basic in nature. A hashtag is a way to index a keyword or topic of interest. Once you hashtag a word or phrase, it becomes discoverable by other users on that social platform. If your social pages are set to private, your hashtag won’t aggregate with posts sharing the same hashtag. So be sure that your pages are set to public if you’re wanting to build brand awareness, an online community, or promote an event. 

Once a hashtag is widely used, it becomes a “trending topic.” Here’s where hashtags get tricky; just because a relevant keyword is trending on your page, it doesn’t mean it’s trending for everyone. Why? Notice I used the word relevant. Social algorithms are based on several factors; location, connections, and interests, etc. As an example, if you’re a bank, you’re less likely to see beauty tips and tricks trending on your feed. 

Posts with hashtags result in an increase in likes, visibility, and engagement 

We know that’s exciting news BUT be cautious about overusing hashtags. Yes, using too many hashtags in a post can result in being considered spam and won’t get eyes on your content. Is there a sweet spot? Are there certain hashtags you should be using? What’s the ideal number? The answers might surprise you. 

Facebook: 1-2 hashtags per post seem to work best. If used appropriately and most importantly, strategically, they’ll work. When I say appropriate, I mean not every Facebook post requires a hashtag. Using them specifically for conferences, events, and national holidays seem to work best.

Pro tip: When curating hashtags for your post, a little research goes a long way. Check to see how many users are following your hashtag(s) of choice and how many posts are indexed under each. Common sense would tell you that 20.5 million posts is hard to compete against. Instead, aim for posts in the thousands, not millions as you’ll have a better chance of your content being seen by new eyes. 

Instagram: Users commonly use anywhere between 5-30 hashtags. Opinions seem to vary on this platform, and while past research showed that just nine, well-researched hashtags would work, new research has come to light stating the importance of using all 30 hashtags for each post. 

Pro tip: Instagram’s insights (along with other social media scheduling platforms) provide the ability to see how successful your hashtags were within a post. Whether it helped you to gain more followers or increased your engagement rates, it’s a nifty tool to use to your advantage. 

Twitter: The hashtag’s birthplace! With Twitter’s limited 280-character count, this isn’t the platform to go overboard with hashtags. Twitter’s Dos and Don’ts claim 1-2 relevant hashtags is all you need.

LinkedIn: Hashtags are new to this channel as of 2018. Since LinkedIn is more formal in the sense that it’s primarily a B2B/employment platform, hashtags need to remain professional and work appropriate. #Don’t #do #this #on #LinkedIn! Limit your use of hashtags here as well. 1-5 is LinkedIn’s sweet spot.

Pro tip: Using generic hashtags on any social media platform without a strategy won’t work either. You want to stand out from the noise, not get lost in it. 

#SmallButMighty, The Hashtag is Here to Stay

This symbol is a big key to bringing the online community together (including brands and consumers) as a whole. Now that we’ve hashed out the details of what it takes to properly use a hashtag, let’s get your next social campaign up and running!

Struggling with implementing a hashtag strategy #foryourbrand? We’d love to help you optimize your brand’s social media strategy in order to grow your brand’s message. In doing so, this will allow your brand to connect with your audience, leading to more meaningful interaction with consumers. 

Influencer Marketing: How Brands Are Shaking Up Their Ad Strategy

Influencer Marketing

Ah, influencers. Some people love them, some people roll their eyes at just the mention of the word. This might be because not everyone understands the true power these individuals possess for brands everywhere.

How many of you follow celebrities or bloggers on Instagram and are immediately drawn to a product that they’re advertising? Surely if this well-known individual loves this product, then you will too! At least that’s the train of thought most of us have as we scroll through these beautifully curated feeds on social media.

In our last blog, we covered the acceleration of the digital shift with online advertising. With the advent of streaming services came the option to omit ads and commercials from your favorite television shows, movies, and even online radio. As with any challenge, brands have found a silver lining with paid search campaigns, social media ads, and you guessed it…paid partnerships with influencers.

To truly understand how brands are partnering with influencers around the world online, you’ll first need to know the different types of influencers out there and each medium that they utilize.

The 5 Types of Brand Influencers

Let us start off by saying this: influencers aren’t new. While the concept has shifted to the digital realm, brands have been leveraging awareness with celebrities for years! Remember late night talk shows, or even still today with Super Bowl commercials? Each brand is usually sponsored or partnered with a celebrity/famous individual to showcase their product. Famous individuals, especially on a global-scale, are the easiest way to establish a sense of familiarity (and trust) with audiences everywhere.

Let’s dive in:


Micro-influencers are different from other types of “traditional” influencers because they aren’t well-known celebrities or public figures. They’re social media users like me or you that are able to cultivate a solid following due to their aesthetic feed and high-quality posts about their very favorite brands. Instead of millions of followers, they have a following of thousands or tens of thousands of people. Because of their modest following, their engagement rates are much higher since they are able to easily respond to DMs and public comments.

Having a smaller audience allows these influencers to connect with people who follow them and, in turn, makes them much more appealing to work with for brands looking to connect on a personal level with their audience.

Social media influencer:

Unlike “regular” social media users, these influencers are public figures or well-known individuals (but not to be confused with celebrities — we will get to them next) who operate on several platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter. These influencers have tens of thousands or even millions of followers.

Social media influencers have established credibility within a specific industry such as health, workouts, cars, diet, outdoor activities, travel, fashion, art, beauty, and interior design. These influencers share advice, tutorials, recipes, and more.

A great example of a social media influencer would be Huda Kattan or Jaclyn Hill. Once make-up artists for Revlon and MAC, they rose to fame by posting make-up tutorials and reviews on YouTube and Instagram. With millions of followers, they have now both landed their own successful line of cosmetics.

Celebrity influencer:

Celebrity influencers are exactly what you’d think; actors, singers, reality tv stars, and more. Celebrities are ideal influencers due to their massive following of millions upon millions of people. Since these individuals are widely recognized and well-loved by fans all over the globe, they are successful in reaching your targeting audience quickly.

Whether their fans see this content or not, celebrities promoting and/or using your brand’s product or service can reach multiple audiences across a variety of channels more than any other influencer could. Remember when we referenced you being drawn to a product because your favorite celebrity endorsed it? That’s because you see their level of success, therefore trusting that they’re providing you authentic advice. This is called social proof, and it’s an extremely powerful advertising tool.

A great example that comes to mind would be Joe Rogan. Once the host of the popular reality show Fear Factor and MMA commentator, Joe Rogan has amassed 9-10 million followers on his now famous The Joe Rogan Experience podcast and Instagram account. His number one sponsor of his podcast is Traeger Grills, an outdoor wood fire grill. If you listen to his podcast or peruse his Instagram feed, you’ll see several posts of him grilling and eating elk from his Traeger Grill making sure he’s tagging their page and hashtagging their product.

Blog influencer:

A blog influencer is someone who writes for their own well-established blog and has thousands, or millions, of subscribers and readers that cover topics from travel, gaming, health, photography, and parenting. These influencers have an expansive reach and influence that sets them apart from your regular everyday bloggers (like me) who reach a smaller group of people. But hey, who knows, maybe one day Tinsley Creative will become blog influencers in the branding world!

If you’re anything like me and love blogs, especially content that creates a strong sense of community in the online space, then you’ll love photography blog, Humans of New York. HONY has over 18 million followers across the globe through the power of social media. Started in 2010 by photographer Brandon Stanton, HONY is a series started in New York City where Brandon would interview citizens and share a personal quote or story along with their picture to capture the human experience.

Since its launch, HONY has been published into several books and even spent 31 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list.

Key opinion leader:

Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are high-level experts and trusted contributors in their industries who have a following of people invested in that particular subject. A perfect example of a KOL would be an individual that specializes in nutrition, sports, politics, or even the medical field. Consider them the thought leaders in their field.

Due to their expert knowledge, training, or even certifications on a certain topic, your target audience is much more likely to invest their trust into these individuals regarding your service or product.

Most famously, entrepreneur and engineer, Elon Musk of Tesla, is an example of a KOL in several industries ranging from automotive and tech. Musk has a following of 37 million followers on Twitter, so any brand that partners with him easily has a chance of getting their name out there on a global scale.

In the restaurant industry, most Food Network chefs would be considered KOLs as well. From Alton Brown, Gordon Ramsay, and Giada De Laurentiis, many food brands benefit from partnering with these world-renowned chefs due to their track record of formal training, media appearances, and massive following.

Customer Influencers

Okay, we know we said there were 5 influencers, but something dawned on us. On a daily basis, as brand managers, we help brands create their own set of “influencers” every time they sell a product or service. Not every brand has the budget to hire influencers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own fan base of customers to promote your brand with a simple post on their social media pages.

We assist brands in creating their own army of front line influencers with our strategic marketing efforts on a daily basis. Cultivating personal relationships with your audience is and should be, your brand’s ultimate goal on social media. A brand needs to prove its loyalty to their audience, and what better way than to re-share posts of customers enjoying your product or service?! It’s all part of a well-thought out plan, and the Tinsley team does it every single day.

If your brand does decide to hire an influencer, it’s also our job as brand managers to ensure that the influencer’s brand strategy works in unison with your brand’s identity, image, and overall strategy.

Now that you know the 5 types of influencers, how do you go about finding them?

Besides organically scouring social media feeds and Google, believe it or not, there are agencies dedicated to securing the perfect influencer for your brand! Take Obviously for example; a full service influencer marketing agency based out of New York, Paris, and San Francisco with over 400,000 influencers in their database.

With Obviously’s arsenal of influencers and top-notch experts, they provide a time-saving solution for brands who are actively searching for vetted, professional influencers so that their brand can reach a wider audience.

What’s the budget like for each of these influencers, you ask? Since each influencer’s following ranges from a modest few thousand to large scale followings in the millions, their cost per post varies. To break it down via Influencer Marketing Hub:

*Please note: these figures are an average and aren’t the same for every influencer*

  • Micro-influencer: $80-500 per piece of content
  • Celebrity influencer: $3,000-$500,000+ per piece of content
  • Blog influencer: $400-$5,500 per blog post
  • Social media influencer: $100-$550,000+ per social post
  • KOL (Key opinion leader): $500-$5,000+ per piece of content

An Investment For Your Brand

Hiring influencers to promote your brand obviously doesn’t come free. These individuals dedicate their time to showcasing your brand and products while working alongside you to reach your advertising goals. From short-term contracts to long-term retainers, influencers will be working on a variety of campaigns with your brand, bringing in leads. In turn, for your time, hard work, and dollars spent, you’ll hope to see an ROI from your efforts.

Rest assured, the stats behind influencer marketing overall are positive and proven valuable to brands everywhere — and they’re on the rise. Take a look for yourself:

According to studies conducted by Mediakix, Annalect, Global Web Index, and Influencer Marketing Hub:

  • 80% of brands find influencer marketing effective.
  • 71% of brands rate the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing as better than other marketing sources.
  • 49% of consumers today depend on influencer recommendations for their purchase decisions. 60% say they’ve been influenced by a recommendation when shopping in-store.
  • Influencer marketing strategies focused on branding or engagements generate 8x ROI.
  • 40% of online customers use ad-blocking technology — opening doors for influencers everywhere.

Consider Us Influenced…

If we were to dive into all the components that make up influencer marketing, you’d be downloading an eBook. With several factors to take into consideration such as reach, budget, and types of partnerships, your options are endless!

As you brainstorm new and innovative ways to connect with your audience and build brand awareness, consider partnering with an influencer best suited for your business and develop a solid awareness strategy.

The Internet world is your brand’s oyster, and influencer marketing is on the rise to becoming an integral part of a brand’s online marketing strategy.

Ad Budget for Brands in 2020: To Spend or not to Spend?

Ad Spend

2020 is a time for change. It definitely wasn’t anticipated change, especially for companies advertising budgets. In fact, before COVID-19, 2020 advertising budgets were expected to increase across traditional media such as radio, television, and publishing houses.

Watching consumer trends change has been interesting but obviously concerning for many brands. Making the shift to digital isn’t always easy for many due to the need for daily ad spend to be placed at a higher cost. But hear us out; according to the WARC (World Advertising Research Center) they’re expecting to see a $50 billion cut in global advertising spend across all brand categories. That’s huge and while a little disheartening, still a way for you to pivot your former plans and still get your own slice of the proverbial digital pie.

What Does the Impact of COVID-19 Really Mean for Traditional Media?

First, let’s take a look at ourselves as consumers. I’m willing to bet a good majority of you no longer have cable and utilize streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime instead. With these streaming services come the option for a package deal that omits any ads. The same idea goes for print pieces. A lot of us have subscriptions to online news sources, even down to podcasts! And speaking of podcasts, I bet you’re using a streaming service such as Spotify, Pandora, or Apple Music. In fact, as I write this, I’m listening to music on my Spotify account that I’ve had since 2012.

We might not realize it, but if you sit back and really think about your daily habits, the shift to digital has been creeping up on us for almost a decade. 2020 has only accelerated the need for companies to meet their audience where they’re at — online. As the pandemic is unfortunately here to stay, at least for the time being, many people are still working remote and spending more time at home. This time at home increases the chance for paid search views and social media ads to skyrocket.

Start taking advantage! Data has been gathered since the start of COVID-19 and continues to be gathered as we continue further into 2020. Make it a habit to keep your brand abreast of all updates — that way, you’ll know how to appropriately adjust ad strategies as time goes on.

A Peek into Ad Spend Across the Board

According to PubMatic’s chart, ad spend will vary across several categories virtually affecting each industry a little differently. Long story short: if you have the overhead to spend and advertise on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, do it. As 2020 progresses and more data is gathered, one trend stays the same: online advertising is on the rise.

ad spend
Considering recent travel bans, restrictions on going out to eat, and social distancing being in effect impacting shoppers globally, it’s really no surprise that these industries have stepped up their game and funneled more of their budget into online ad spend.

After carefully reviewing multiple data sets, it would be a wise choice for brands to refocus most paid ad efforts to social media, paid search, and email. With a global spike in media consumption, your chance to reach a broader audience has drastically increased.

Pro tip: Implement the use of automation services so that your posts will not only have better reach, but better visibility as platforms such as Hootsuite, CoSchedule, and Buffer are programmed to post at peak times.

Brands wanting to thrive in today’s current climate will do so by focusing efforts on popular media where consumers are. Reports gathered from Statista show that people have increased their time on social media by 21% since March and a 36% increase of online news consumption. With social distancing in full swing, these numbers are forecasted to keep rising.

The Foreseeable Future of Advertising

For those of you who remember the financial crisis in 2008-2009, the WARC report shows that we didn’t start to fully recover until 8 years later. That was a -6.4% decrease in global ad investment. This year, in just the span of a few months, we’ve already hit a -9.1% decrease — potentially putting our recovery period well over a decade.

We see every challenge as an opportunity. And while this is quite a challenge, there is an infinite amount of information at your fingertips to monitor the current online environment. While data shows ad spend declining across the board, this is the ideal time for your brand to increase your own ad spend. There’s no faster way to garner market share for your company than when others pull back. Now is the time to act and market share gains achieved that would normally take years to make during “good times”. Keeping ahead of the curve by adapting previous advertising strategies to digital will help your brand swim instead of sink.

Together, we’ll keep adapting, adjusting, and succeeding throughout these unpredictable times. The Tinsley team hopes you continue to stay safe and healthy. To shorten the process of uncertainty, let’s remember to keep practicing these five steps as we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Designing Your Brand Identity: 5 Tips from a Designer

designing a brand

A brand’s identity is heavily based on memorable design elements. Think about it, an identity is what makes an individual or company ultimately recognizable to others. A good example would be how you present yourself to others. How would your friends describe your style and overall demeanor?

Now take those same questions, and apply them to your brand.

  • What is your brand’s personality? Describe this with your team as if you’re describing a person.
  • What are your brand’s values? These are the beliefs that will drive your brand’s mission.
  • What is your brand’s voice? This voice will set the tone for your brand, solidifying your personality.

Laying the Foundation

You want to stand out. You want your brand to be known. Even the most iconic brands started with these simple questions! Yes, even Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Target were once unknown brands. It’s crazy to think about, right? These brand logos are considered some of the most recognizable logos of all time. That says a lot when you think about how many brand messages we ultimately consume each day.

So how did these brands set themselves apart from their competitors and become household names? We sit down with Art Director Brittany Huey who shares the building blocks that will start you on your journey in shaping your brand’s identity.

1. How much research is involved in starting the design process for a brand?

Research plays a large role in the initial phase of design. It’s important to identify the intended target audience and understand how to best relate with them, as well as identifying current industry standards and/or trends. This information will be crucial in almost every aspect of branding as you progress forward. 

 2. What goes into creating a brand’s logo? What is it about a logo that makes someone recognize it? 

After I’ve done my research, I’m ready to begin designing. Each designer may approach this step differently, but this phase of designing for a logo begins with concepting. Getting your thoughts and ideas together and putting them on paper/screen. I work towards eliminating and refining concepts until I’m happy with my options. Up until this point, I’ve left the logo design in black and white, because it’s important to make sure a logo looks great at all times, not only in color. Once color is added and the last bit of “tweaking” is done, you’re ready to share it with the world.

Pro tip: It’s important to keep it simple, legible, and easily adaptable across all mediums. It’s intended to be a mark that represents your brand, but doesn’t have to be fully inclusive as a tell-all. A good logo is often recognized by a logo mark, or even an identifying font that is unique to the brand. Also, a sense of familiarity is important to consumers as they are often quick to identify shapes and colors that make them feel a certain way and will lead them to deduct their own interpretation of the brand. 

3. Why are brand style guides important and what elements should you include in the brand guide? 

A brand guide is used to keep branding on point, especially when there are many individuals involved in marketing the brand itself. Brand guides may vary in content, but generally include your primary logo, variations of your logo, general rules for how a logo should not be used, colors with Pantone, CMYK, RGB and/or hex code values, typography comprising your logo and any additional fonts you wish to include as a standard for the brand.  

4. How does color and typography tie into being the foundation of a brand’s identity? How do you go about choosing the right fit? 

Choosing colors has more to do with my findings in research. Personal opinions aside, I’m not selecting a color because it’s my favorite. It has more to do with what it represents and how it will be used to spark a certain emotion in my audience. Fonts are a little different, there’s a little more freedom when it comes to selecting the perfect font, but don’t go crazy. Too many fonts will distract from the overall piece and make it harder to streamline branding practices. It’s better to incorporate families of fonts with a variety of font weights and styles. Also, custom fonts can be great, but keeping a more standardized font (available on all operating systems) is crucial to ensure the integrity of your brand across mediums.

5. How does photography tie into designing a brand’s identity? Whether it’s shot by a professional or a stock download, photography helps to tell the brand’s story.

You want to be consistent in style and look for similarities that can help unite photography across the board. Maybe it’s a close-up detail, action, or lifestyle shot; 1 person, groups of people or none; different genders, ages or race. All of these identifiers can help establish consistency that speaks to the brand’s overall appearance. On another note, finding the right photos also means quality resolution. As great as a photo may be, if it’s resolution limits it’s usage, meaning it can’t be enlarged to look great as a poster or billboard, then it really isn’t the best option for your brand.    

How Has Brand Identity Shaped Your Daily Life?

To further our point, try out this logo quiz we found to see just how important EACH element of the design process is. I’ll share my results: 11/11! Even I was surprised at the lasting impact each of these brands have had on my memory over the years.

These brands have left a lasting legacy and yours can, too! Stand out from the crowd by taking the time to invest in your image — it can be the deciding factor of your success.

Brand Growth in 2020: Looking Ahead at the Bigger Picture


How are you? No really, we want to know. Consider this our half-way through the year check-in. We won’t sugarcoat that 2020 has undoubtedly been one of the most unpredictable years not just in the world of marketing, but for everyone.

While this year has thrown a plethora of challenges our way, we like to think it has helped brands everywhere really hone in on future strategies, how to realign messaging, and more importantly, learn that transparency is crucial. To businesses who had grand plans to grow your brand this year, we see you, we hear you, and we feel for you. But guess what — you can still achieve those same goals! We have a few tips moving forward from here to help elevate your brand’s awareness to the next level.

Messaging Matters

Your messaging not just for the rest of 2020, but for the long-term sustainability of your brand is going to seriously matter. While this seems like a no-brainer, this year truly has changed the course of how brands will communicate with their supporters moving forward, so if there is one thing you take away from this blog, please let it be that your messaging must be one of the most important components of your marketing strategy. The tone of brand voices is more delicate than ever these days.

Maybe we needed to shift our focus to better our brands. Instead of feeling stressed and defeated, take every obstacle as a learning experience. For example, we’ve seen an uptick in consumers wanting to hear from brands more and more. They want to know what you stand for, how you’re responding to the current state of affairs, and what exactly you are doing for them. Take advantage of these shifts in behavioral trends! Social media has the unique advantage of removing the guesswork from what your audience wants. They’re on there, willing, and ready to tell you. Simply ask.

What Impression Will You Leave?

Consumers are digesting tons of information by turning to broadcast, cable television, and other mediums such as social media for information. They’re seeking forms of entertainment and ways that they can involve themselves with your brand. You know that comms strategy you had in January of this year? Be agile and willing to adjust it so as to not sound tone-deaf. Now is the time to exude empathy, not commercialism. You don’t have to present a sales pitch to land a sale. A post or e-mail that feels positive goes a long way for your brand, but being genuine is crucial here. Your audience DOES know the difference between being authentic or if you’re just seeking profit.

Pro tip: Associate your brand with good. You’re probably thinking, well I do! I’ve sent out social messages and e-blasts with a general feel good statement. While this is nice, it’s not enough. In times of crisis and social change, consumers are being inundated with these same blanket statements. It’s not enough to tell them you’re there for them — you need to prove it. People will remember brands who participated in acts of service and good deeds more than those who posted a statement on social media. Stand out amongst the noise. Did your brand’s staff come together to contribute monetary donations to a worthy cause? Is your team getting out in the community to lend a hand to those in need? Has your HR team come together to create new trainings? Share this news, and more importantly, act on it.

Develop Consumer Personas

If you haven’t sat down to create consumer personas and ways to track their behavior, here is your mid-year reminder to start! Marketers gain better insights in real time if they track consumer trends by creating personas. With current events changing at a rapidly increasing rate, monitoring these trends closely is how you will be able to keep your brand relevant.

By keeping an eye on trends, you can easily adapt the appropriate messaging and look for potential digital opportunities. But, establishing consumer personas is the first step in tracking these behavioral trends. What’s a consumer persona? Simply put, they’re your ideal customer. Taking general details about each customer, such as their demographic, gender, socio-economic status will help your brand segment out who you’re targeting.

If you’re a novice brand, you probably don’t have all of these details yet and that’s okay, too! Getting started is easy, but it does require some time and research. Lucky for you, social media has built-in analytics that can offer key datasets at your fingertips. A breakdown of age, gender, and even the type of mobile device they’re viewing your content on is available for you to see on the backend of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Surveys and feedback are a great way to collect this information, too!

Pro tip: Identifying who you don’t want as a customer is just as important. You need to know who isn’t a good fit for your brand because if not, you’ll waste valuable time and resources in the customer acquisition process. As fellow content creators, we know how much time it takes to create these resources whether it’s social posts, blogs, or copy on your website. Your time is valuable — target those who will reciprocate support that will reflect with a nice ROI.

Track Current Trends

The point of creating personas? To understand your ideal customer and ultimately, get them to convert! Once you know your target audience, it’s time to monitor their ever-evolving behavior. Analytics can be intimidating if they aren’t something you’re used to looking at daily but trust us when we tell you, become best friends with customer-centric tools! It’s 2020 — we have a multitude of data at our fingertips. There’s no excuse to not track consumer trends. Building dashboards that display this kind of data will help to fuel the right decisions when marketing your brand.

A few of our recommendations:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google’s Audience Retention tools
  • Google Trends
  • HubSpot CRM
  • Salesforce CRM
  • Facebook Insights
  • Twitter Insights
  • Instagram Insights

Finish Out the Year Strong!

You’ve got this. Seriously, you do. If there is anything that 2020 has proved so far it’s that all brands have the potential to be malleable. We can adapt with unpredictable times, learn from them, and even implement a different set of standards to do better by the brand and hey, maybe even personally.

You love what you do and you believe in your brand. As brand managers we get it. Our passion for our clients and their success runs deep. While it seems cliche, we really are in this together and it’s important to sometimes step back, look at the bigger picture, and adjust your strategy so that you can provide nothing but the very best for your customers.

As we enter the second half of this year, we hope these tips help you not only grow your brand, but contribute to a newer way of thinking. Now it’s your turn! We want to hear from you. What are some challenges you’ve faced this year? Have you implemented new strategies that have been working for you? Let us know, and as always, never hesitate to reach out to the Tinsley team to refine your branding strategy.

The Art of Video: Q&A with a Video Editor


In our previous video blog, we discussed the beginning stages of creating a top-notch video with the art of scriptwriting and storyboarding. We’d be remiss to skip over the most important final parts: editing and post-production. Video Editor Anthony Sassano provides detailed tips and insight when it comes to finishing your masterpiece. 

Q: What video editing software do you most recommend?

A: The software I use is Adobe Premiere Pro. Since my workflow involves other Adobe programs, such as After Effects, Audition, Photoshop and Illustrator,  having access to dynamic linking and the ease with which all the programs work together makes for a very smooth workflow. If you don’t have access to Premiere or are looking for something a bit more cost effective a few other programs that can be used are Final Cut Pro (Mac Only), DaVinici Resolve or Avid.

Q: What resolution should you be shooting and editing at?

A: The resolution of your video is the pixels per unit of area. That is a technical way of saying the number of pixels arranged horizontally and vertically on a monitor or TV screen. The most common resolutions are 720p, 1080p, 1440p and 4K. These are just shorthand versions of the actual pixel dimensions, which are:

  • 720p = 1280 x 720
  • 1080p = 1920 x 1080
  • 1440p (2k) = 2560 x 1440
  • 4K = 3840 x 2160 

Now, when it comes to editing I tend to stick to the average resolution of my target audience, which (even in 2020) is 1080p. This resolution allows for the greatest flexibility when viewing on mobile phones, TVs and computer monitors. It is a good, safe resolution that if someone is on a slightly slower internet or mobile data connection they can view the video without any, or very minimal, stuttering/buffering while still maintaining Full HD Quality.

As for shooting, I ask videographers to shoot at either 1080p (my native editing resolution) or above. Shooting above my native editing resolution allows me more freedom in the editing room as I can take a 4K video (4 times the size of a 1080p video) and scale it in my editing software to create my own custom pans or zooms without losing quality like I would if I had to take a 1080p video and scale it to add an artificial zoom or pan.

Q: What frame rate should you be shooting at and editing?

A: Frame rates are a bit simpler to understand, but can be more important in some cases compared to the resolution. First things first, what is a frame rate you ask? Well, it’s nothing more than the number of images that are displayed within 1 second. That’s right, when you’re watching any kind of video content all you’re really seeing is a lot of still images playing in quick succession, kind of like a flip book…actually…just like a flip book. Makes you really appreciate those cartoons you watched as a child, before computers, where everything had to be hand drawn!

Now that you have a basic understanding of what a frame is and now know a video is nothing more than the number of frames per second (fps) displayed in sequential order, we can talk about which frame rate you should be using for your video. The good news is, since we use the NTSC broadcast standard here in the US, the 3 most commonly used frame rates are:

  • 24 fps  = 23.976 fps (movies and cinematic videos)
  • 30 fps = 29.97 fps (standard frame rate)
  • 60 fps = 59.94 fps (used to create slow-motion)

To keep things simple when people say 24 fps they are actually referring to 23.976 fps which is the broadcast frame rate that is used in the US. Same rule applies for the 30 fps and 60 fps numbers above.

For my workflow I work in a 1080p resolution project with a frame rate of 24 fps (23.976 fps). This gives my video that cinematic look and feel that I enjoy. If you do not like that particular look, feel free to go up to 30 fps (29.97 fps) which is more in line to what you see when watching TV.

As for shooting, I ask videographers to shoot all interviews, or anything where audio has to be properly synced with the video, at the native fps of what my project will be (in my case 24 fps).

In situations where the video doesn’t need to be synced with recorded audio I have them use 30 fps. And when I want video that I know I am going to create slow-motion, mostly b-roll (alternative footage intercut with the main shot), I ask them to shoot in 60 fps (this allows me to take the 60 fps video and slow it down to 24 fps which creates a very nice, smooth motion without any stuttering or jumping). 

Q: What hardware do you use to properly record audio and what software do you use to edit audio?

A: Good, clean audio is super important to a video project. Most audiences will forgive pixelated or lower quality video, but if the audio is bad, they will quickly turn off your video and go find something else to watch. This is why it is crucial to make sure your videos have audio without crackling, hissing or unwanted distortions. 

To record audio I use an external audio recorder, which allows to me use a XLR shotgun mic (microphone) or a wireless lapel mic to record any voice overs or interviews, since the DSLR we shoot with does not have an XLR input. I then sync the audio to the video inside of Premiere. If I need to do any additional audio enhancing I will use either the Premiere Audio tools or for more detailed work I will take the audio into Adobe Audition using dynamic linking, make the edits, and then it sends the changes right back into Premiere.

Q: How important is it to have the right music in a video?

A: Each video I create has a mood. Whether it’s an inspiring video for a company’s brand tugging at the heart strings for a local charity, or just showing off how cool a boat runs on the water, making a person feel something when watching your video is how you create engagement. One of the ways to get this emotion into your video and projected to the viewer is the music that is chosen. Music plays such a large part in so many of our lives, that it makes a lot of sense that the music in a video needs to send the same message as the video itself. Putting the wrong music into your video, say an upbeat song when your video is supposed to be sad or thoughtful, is an easy way to confuse your viewers and lose their engagement. It’s for this reason that I can spend anywhere from 2-6 hours finding the right music to fit the mood and tone of the video I am creating.

Pro tip: Any music you use in a video needs to be licensed to prevent copyright infringements and lawsuits. You can’t just choose a song you heard on the radio and use that for your next video, especially if you are using it for commercial purposes. To this end there are several music licensing services out there that allow you to purchase music for your videos. Each has its own structure, but the few I use (or have used) are artlist.io, soundstripe.com and epidemicsound.com.

Q: How do you prepare to export a video via Vimeo or Youtube?

A: Once your video is complete it needs to be exported to a final file for viewing by an audience. For Youtube or Vimeo it’s pretty straight forward. How you export out of each program is different, and some even have a Youtube of Vimeo preset, you just need to learn how your program exports it’s complete timeline. The settings I use are:

  • Codec: H.264 (mpg)
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (this may be different based on your project)
  • Frame Rate: 23.976 fps (this may be different based on your project)
  • Bit Rate: 15-20 mbps (controls visual quality and file size)

If your video is for broadcast TV you will need to get the export information from the company that will be airing the video so it can be played by their systems.

You Made It!

Even simplified, we know there is a ton of information overload when it comes to creating quality videos for your brand. Video editors and videographers have a unique job of capturing an audience’s attention with a brand’s story visually by having a sharp eye and a keen sense of hearing. While it’s an important skill set to learn, we recommend working with seasoned video editors to ensure your final masterpiece is ready for the big screen.

We bet next time you watch a commercial or video of any kind whether it be on television or social media, you’ll view it through new eyes now that you have a better understanding of each component that goes into behind-the-scenes work not only with conceptualization and filming, but even post production and editing.